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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Water bill savings should be passed on to more Queenslanders

    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Wednesday, December 08, 2010

    Water bill savings should be passed on to more Queenslanders

    8 December 2010

    Natural Resources Minister, Stephen Robertson, today called on council-owned water businesses Unitywater and AllConnex Water to act to ensure their customers do not miss out on water bill savings offered to other SEQ residents.

    Up to $15 will be slashed off water bill increases next year under initiatives announced this week by the Bligh Government and Queensland Urban Utilities.

    While the Government can ensure its share of those savings are passed on to households across the entire region, QUU services homes only in the council areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset.

    Unitywater and AllConnex provide retail water to homes in the Gold and Sunshine coasts, Moreton Bay, Logan and Redlands.

    The State Government continues to sell bulk water to councils at a loss - $407 million this year – and councils continue to make profits, Mr Robertson said.

    “Today I’m again calling on councils and council-owned retailers to give some thought to helping out struggling Queensland families,’’ he said.

    “Last weekend we took action and announced reductions to the price of bulk water price increase next year because we know that every dollar counts.

    “I welcome the news that Queensland Urban Utilities has followed our lead and will pass water bill savings on to their customers.

    “I now urge Unitywater and AllConnex Water to do the same.”

    The State Government has spoken out against moves by some council-owned retailers who have advised the Queensland Competition Authority that they expect to raise their residential water bills by up to 20 per cent next year and 23 per cent the year after.

    Mr Robertson said some councils are making huge profits from water.

    “The Gold Coast City Council, for instance, will make $94 million profit from water this year. The council is a co-owner of AllConnex and collects a dividend from the money the business makes from water bills.’’

    On Sunday, the Government announced it had consolidated operations and maximised efficiencies across the SEQ water grid to deliver savings to every household water bill in the south-east.

    For a typical SEQ household, next year’s bulk water charge increase will be around $5 less than previously announced - $54 down from $59, Mr Robertson said.

    Additional savings will continue for every year and will grow to more than $30 per household by 2017, he said.

    After a call by Mr Robertson for SEQ Councils to follow the Government’s lead and to help households cut their water costs, Queensland Urban Utilities yesterday announced it would pass on savings of up to $10 per household bill next year and $20 in 2012-13.

    “The government understand the stresses on household budgets right now, that's why we have taken some tough steps to help reduce water price increases,’’ he said.

    “But we can’t do it alone. Three quarters of the average bill is levied by council owned water businesses and they need to come to the party.

    ’’The pressure is now on the other council-owned water retailers _ AllConnex Water and Unitywater – to follow the lead set by the government and Queensland Urban Utilities and announce what they intend to do to help their customers meet the cost of rising water bills.’’

    Mr Robertson also called on councils in regional and rural areas across the state to review their water prices charges for next year and look for savings that could be passed on to their customers.

    Media contact: 0417 154 660